Little Tibet: Ladakh
Ladakh is a transcendental land of Himalayan peaks, snow deserts, shimmering high altitude lakes, and ancient Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. Only open to the outside world in the summer months, this enigmatic lunar landscape is a traveller’s dream come true. Highlights of this journey involve hiking through lush Himalayan valleys, driving through the highest motorable road in the world, interacting with the locals, visiting several ancient monasteries perched on hilltops and staying at unique boutique properties that enhances the Ladakhi experience.
Delhi – Nimmu – Nurla – Leh – Nubra Valley – Thiksey – Delhi
Day 1. International Departure
Departure for Delhi.
Day 2: Delhi
Arrive at Indira Gandhi International airport. Assisted transfer to The Imperial located at the heart of New Delhi. Overnight at hotel.
(Optional afternoon sightseeing)
In the vibrant New Delhi, the memoirs of Mahatma Gandhi are preserved in Gandhi Smriti Museum through photographs, sculptures, paintings, frescos, inscriptions on rocks and relics pertaining to the years he spent here. The impressive monuments Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar and the iconic India Gate are not to be missed. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: To Leh / Nimmoo
The flight to Leh can be termed to be one of the most sensational flying experience. On a clear day, from one side of the aircraft, you can behold the mesmerising peaks of K2, Nanga Parbat, and Gasherbrum, and on the other side of the aircraft, you might feel that you could reach out and touch the Nun Kun massif.
On arrival in Leh, the largest town in Ladakh, you will transfer to Nimmoo House, a restored heritage property between the apricot trees and the golden mountains you will find at Nimmu House unique accommodation that combines modern comfort with Ladakhi traditions, You will have the afternoon to acclimatise to the altitude, fresh rarefied air of the mountain with the smell of fresh grass.
Day 4: Nimmoo
Enjoy warm Ladakhi hospitality and spend a leisurely day in the house.
You can opt to take a curated tour of the house, an in-house cooking atelier or an interesting guided walk in a nearby village.
Day 5: To Nurla
Making exciting stops on the way, we will head towards Nurla hugging the banks of the mighty Indus River. The beautifully located Likir and Alchi monasteries, Stok Palace Museum the summer residence of the Namgyal dynasty, displays of textiles, armour, and household items are our picks for you.
Apricot Tree Hotel at Nurla is a peaceful property with individual cottages set amongst fruit trees in an orchard. Though without the luxurious furnishings of the tented camp, the simple setting has its own charms, the food is organic, and the location is dramatic: the orchard is atop a cliff overlooking the Indus River.
Day 6: Nurla
Enjoy an organic breakfast in the garden, and perhaps a yoga or meditation class to get you into a peaceful frame of mind to start the day.
In today’s excursion, along the valley plain and surrounded by mountains on all sides; the outlandish yet intriguing lunar landscape on the approach to Lamayuru is a naturally occurring geological phenomenon and a visit to this stunningly located, 11th century Monastery is absolute delight.
You will continue to the twin villages of Dha Hanu, the only two Brokpa villages in Ladakh which foreigners are permitted to visit. The Brokpa are culturally and ethnically distinct from other Ladakhi communities: they are Indo-European, rather than Tibeto-Mongol in appearance; and their religion is a combination of Buddhism and animism.
Day 7: To Leh
An adventurous day, combining drives and walks from Nurla, you ill reach the Chulichan Nunnery. Another one and a half kilometers on foot is Ridzong Gompa, one of the less frequented monasteries of Ladakh. Relatively new (1840), it is beautifully set in a valley, deep inside a gorge and it is also the most isolated monastery in Ladakh.
Your stay tonight is at The Grand Dragon.
Day 8: Leh
A memorable day in Leh! You will visit SOS Village (Choglamsar, an important centre for the study of Tibetan culture and history. It houses the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies, a Tibetan library, a medical centre, shops selling handicrafts and books, and plenty of restaurants. You can also visit the nearby golf course, horticulture nurseries and a polo ground.
Later in the afternoon you will tour the Old Town in Leh, walk along the Tibetan markets – little shops selling curios and jewellery with variety of semi-precious stones, pearls, turquoise, coral, lapis lazuli; carved yak-horn boxes, quaint brass locks, and china or metal bowls. Walk across the labyrinthine alleys and piled-up houses of the old town, clustering around the foot of the Palace Hill.
Finish your day at the Shanti Stupa, which has some of the most impressive views across Leh.
Day : To Nubra
Behold the breathtaking sights all the way south over the Indus valley to the seemingly endless peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range, and north to the giants of the Saser massif. The road journey from Leh to the Nubra Valley passes over Khardung La (the highest motorable road in the world) at 5602 M / 18,390 Ft, around 39 km from Leh.
Visit Diskit Monastery perched on a rock overhanging next to a stream, a monastery is full of thangkas, magnificent giant statues of the Buddha and aged mural paintings.
The road then winds down into the Nubra Valley, a surprisingly green, lush place where the farmlands are dotted with poplar and willow, pass the famous sand dunes, and arrive late afternoon in the oasis of Diskit. You will be staying in the stunning safari camp.
Day 9: Nubra Valley
It awaits for you today! The unique opportunity to ride on a Bactrian camel (double humped) amidst the sand dunes of this high altitude desert overlooking the snow-capped mountains on the horizon; and a breathtaking drive upstream along the Siachen River to Panamik – the end of the road for this trip !
You can also choose from a variety of activities, including rafting on the Shyok River, visiting the holy lake at Yarab Tso, or meeting members of the Women’s Alliance of Nubra, who produce traditional handicrafts and document their oral history through lively performances. You might take a drive through the farmlands to the village of Sumur and visit a local family in their home or visit Samstanling Gompa founded by Lama Tsultims Nima.
Day 10: To Thiksey
The gentle sounds of monks chanting and prayer bells that float across in the breeze to Chamba Camp are in the tranquil shadow of the Thiksey Monastery.
A visit to the Matho Monastery is lined up for later in the afternoon. Belonging to the Sakya Order, the conservation of the monastery is being undertaken by a team of local women, and the 600-year- old thangkas (Buddhist paintings on silk) here are especially fine.
Day 11: Thiksey
Overlooking the camp Thiksey Monastery has exceptional views along the Leh Valley. For a soul- stirring experience, rise early morning to participate in the monks’ prayer ceremony.
A sumptuous lunch will be served at camp, giving you ample sustenance for the afternoon ahead, when you will visit the Drukpa monastery at Hemis, the largest monastic centre in Ladakh and a centre of Buddhist learning, with a large number of young monks studying in the monastery’s beautifully adorned halls.
Day 12: To Delhi
You will be transferred in time to the airport for your flight to Delhi. In Delhi, you will be assisted on arrival and transferred to your hotel.
In the afternoon, enjoy a tour of Old Delhi to get a feel of the hustle and bustle of the vibrant city. The tour will include a visit to Red Fort, which was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in 1638 and was the seat of the Mughal power till the last emperor was dethroned. Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques, was built is 1656. You will also enjoy a walking tour in Chandni Chowk, the silver street of Delhi, bustling with activity. On your way back visit Raj Ghat, the cremation ghat of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation.
Day 13: International Departure
In time transfer to the International airport to board your flight for home.
Each of our programs can be customised to our clients’ desires. Enquire now for a tailor-made Indus experience!
Best time to visit: Ladakh is open for travelers from June till September every year.
Duration: 12 days
Themes: Culture, Heritage, Himalayas, Soft Adventure, Nature Walks, Buddhism.
Regions you will discover: Delhi, Leh and Ladakh
Transport within India:
Private air-conditioned chauffeur-driven car
Price: Available on request for relevant travel month
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